Faith, love are cornerstones of 66-year marriage

by Laura Bednar

In celebration of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, the Bath Country Journal is honoring long-married couples with the story of John and Nancy DeMund, who have been married for 66 years.

Through moving to a new state, starting a business and raising a family, John and Nancy DeMund have relied on their faith and put trust in each other during their 66-year marriage.

The DeMunds are originally from Michigan, and it was John’s sister who played matchmaker for the two. John’s and Nancy’s families had known each other for years, and John’s sister mentioned to Nancy, “You’d get along with my brother.” They were married in August 1957; John was 20 and Nancy was 18.

After they were married, they lived in Texas, where John worked as a petroleum engineer. They came to Ohio in 1959 and moved to Bath in 1968. John built a house on Short Hills Drive, where they lived for 15 years.

Building a home was a natural task for John, who owned a contracting business. He built and remodeled homes and later in his career transitioned to land development. He has developed 100 or so lots in Medina County sold to builders. Nancy kept the books and tracked paychecks, which is why, she said with a smile, “Some of the employees called me the boss.”

The DeMunds moved to N. Revere Road in the 1980s where they still live. They run a non-denominational church in their home, where John is the pastor. John graduated from Ashland Theological Seminary in 2003 with a Master of Divinity degree.

“We study scripture to see what God is trying to tell us and apply it to our lives,” said John.

Church members meet over Zoom on Wednesdays and Sundays with some parishioners attending in person. People from other states, including Michigan and Washington, have tuned in to the bible study.

It is their faith that has helped them sustain their relationship. “Everybody has difficulties,” said Nancy. “The hard things in life make you stronger. Certain principles in life are spiritual principles and [following them] takes intentionality.”

Said John, “Love covers a multitude of sins, and Nancy’s love does that more than anyone I know.”

The couple has three children, two of whom live in Bath. They also have nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. One of their memories is traveling to the Bahamas with their children, where John’s father had an island. As a family tradition, the DeMunds rented a cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan every summer. Other family members own property in that area, and Nancy described the gathering as a “family reunion.”

Their travels didn’t end there. John and Nancy were avid hikers and have hiked Pike’s Peak in Colorado, the Pictured Rocks trail in Michigan, the rim of the Grand Canyon and Mount St. Helen’s twice. “The first time we got two-thirds of the way up, but we couldn’t see 10 feet in front of us because of a blizzard,” said John. “The second time we went all the way up.”

Nowadays, the couple focuses on church, spending time with family and taking care of their 16-acre property.

When asked what their secret is to a long-lasting marriage, John pointed to Nancy and said, “My secret is sitting next to me,” adding that she is always quick to forgive.

“Forgiveness goes a long way,” said Nancy. “One thing people should remember is to consider other people’s interests above your own.” ∞

66-year marriage couple

Above is a photo of the DeMunds in the 1990s. Photo submitted.

Photo (main/above): John and Nancy DeMund have been married for 66 years and have lived in Bath for 55 years. Photo by Laura Bednar.